I paid a visit to my Congressman’s District Office! [Update!]


Went to my Congressman’s District Office, this past Monday, March 15, 2010.

Asked to speak to whoever it was that one could speak to when the Congressman was not there.  

Out came a young man, his Deputy District Administrator.  I had met this young man about two years previously, but he did not recall me.

“What did you come to talk about?”

“I came to talk to you about the health care reform.  I would like to know why the Congressman has changed his position with respect to the public option.  He promised that he would not sign any health care reform bill that did not contain a public option.  He was a signatory to this letter stating just that.  So, why has he changed his position?”  [I held in my hand a letter of August 17, 2009, with 60 Members of Congress, who had signed on, as an attachment to the letter, stating their position with respect to the public option, i.e., that they would NOT sign any health care reform bill without a public option.  This was a letter to The Hon. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, signed off on be Raul Grijalva, Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee, representing the Congressional Progressive Cause and the Congressional Black Caucus.]

“He can change his position if he wants.”

“You know about Cong. Grayson’s bill H.R. 4789, don’t you?  The Medicare Option for anyone under 65 who wants to join and pay for it?,” I asked.  “What are the Congressman’s feelings on that?”

“He’s against it – there aren’t enough votes for it.”  

“Well, I can tell you that since he introduced it, plenty of Americans have signed up in a matter of a couple of days, they are signing up endlessly – it’s phenomenal.”

“It doesn’t matter,” he says, “the votes are not there and the Congressman is going to sign the bill as it is.”

Continuing the “joust”  . . . .!  

“And what about Kucinich’s Amendment that would allow States to adopt a single-payer option if they choose to?  What’s wrong with that?”  I asked.

He retorts, “They’re already doing that, like Massachusetts.”

“Well, there are a few other states that are doing it as well,” I added, “but they will all be under scrutiny, as I’ve read, because their actions are not Federally recognized or approved.”

“Well, we like H.R. 676 – that’s the best,” he states.

“Yes, I know —  that is Cong. Conyers’ bill and it is good, but it’s not in the health care bill, so why do you even mention it?  There is no public option in the bill period.”

“We don’t have the votes,” he relates.

“Do you know how sick and tired we Americans are of hearing that excuse ‘we don’t have the votes’ – but, we have the majority in the Houses?  We didn’t have the votes for impeachment,  we don’t have the votes for this or that, but there always seems to be enough votes for wars and war profiteers, Wall Street criminals, the health and pharma industries, aren’t there?  Now, they want to go after our Social Security and Medicare?    Americans are not being heard anymore.  Yes, they’re being heard, they’re simply being ignored.”  

“That’s not true!”

“It’s not true?  Americans are living in tents across this nation and we can’t even get a decent health care bill.  We, Americans, are being devastated by the corporatists and our politicians.  You want to argue with that?”  (I admit to becoming heated, at this point.)

“You and me will NEVER get 100% of what we want in any bill – it’s always been done in increments,” Mister I know my facts states!  (Right about here, my mind was spinning, because I know of instances where we, at least, got the “gut” necessary rudiments of a bill.)

“Are you trying to say,” I responded firmly, “that the inclusion of a public option would represent 100% of what we need in the health care bill, as it is?  Without a public option, this is another “bailout” for the health care and pharma industries, as though they REALLY need a bailout.  Do you realize how much they’ve raised their rates just in the last six months?   There is nothing in the bill that controls or even attempts to control the premium rates.  And we’re to be penalized if we don’t purchase the insurance.   Pre-existing conditions and the allowance of them?  Is there anything in this bill that says such individuals will not ultimately be “paying through the nose” for it?  Yeh, words are great, but enforcement is something else.”

“Why have you come here to attack the Congressman?  Why do you “liberals” come here to attack their Congressman?  Why don’t you attack the Blue Dog Democrats?   You know if you liberals keep going against us, we won’t be able to get things done.”  (OMG, by now, I want to strangle this young man.  He must have aspirations or some such.)

“Excuse me, you’re the one saying I’m attacking the Congressman – I came here wanting to know why the Congressman had changed his position.  Then, moreover, as a constituent, I have been trying to talk to you on an overall basis, as concerns the bill, but this isn’t the first time you’ve accused me of coming here to attack the Congressman, here.  In reality, I have mostly been pleased with my Congressman’s votes, but I came here to question them now.  Cong. Kucinich is the only person I can think of that stands by what he says.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for his courage to stand up for what he believes in.  He’s the only one who is really there for us.”

“You think so?,” he says with a smirk. “Did you know that Cong. Kucinich, voted against the Houses’ public option?”

“What, are you serious, I find that truly hard to believe!  You show me the bill – I want to see it, for myself.”

“I will prove it to you and you will have to buy me lunch, or I will have to buy you lunch.”  

So, the “punk” goes to the computer and pulls up H.R. 3962 (11-7-2009) and shows me the “nay” of Kucinich.

I said, “Well, O.K., I need to read that so I can understand why Kucinich vetoed the public option in the Congressional bill.  He must’ve done it for good reason, or he would not have done that.  He is one of the most level-headed, factual representatives in our government.  So, no, you don’t have to buy me lunch, and I would not have allowed you to anyway.”  

“As, I’ve told you before, we have to work at things in increments – that’s the way all bills are dealt with.”

“You’ve said that to me before – I simply don’t agree with you.  How many of the Bush Administration’s worst bills got changed?  Once things get in, it takes forever to effectuate any changes.  Have you ever had, say, a billing problem or some such – how many phone calls, letters, etc. did you make in order to get the problem corrected?”

“We’ve gotten a lot of changes to the Bush Adm. bills, such as the Patriot Act (etc.).  I don’t agree with you, increments is the way all bills have been dealt with!,” he says again.

I just looked at this young man in amazement, and then said, “What’s your name?  I’m sorry, I didn’t’ catch it before. ”  

“Here’s my card, my name is Neb.*”  

“O.K., Neb, thanks for your time —  maybe, I’ll send you an e-mail here and there, my e-mail address is and I told him what it was.  

As I left, getting into my car, I noted that those I had passed by and seen in the offices were now in the “kid’s” office, all discussing stuff, intensely, as appeared to me.

Driving home, I, of course, was thinking over that “spontaneous” meeting and I kept thinking about the numerous times Neb had mentioned “increments.”  So, maybe, that’s it, the “withholding” of a “public option in the bill, for example,” introduction of Grayson’s bill, (which now has some 32,200 some signatures), Kucinich’s bill, allowing States to adopt single-payer for all is, well, a political ploy, of sorts — re-elections, and, maybe, some more talk of public option, “increments,” you know!

See Cong. Grayson’s site and take action, anyway!  

The problem with the entire health care “so-called” reform bill is that the “public option” was not really seriously considered from the get-go.  When you want a bill – good for the people, dare I say, I think you have to shoot for the “moon” and then you negotiate from a “high” level, not a low level, which, in this drama, as you know, the issue of the public option was one based on such a “minimal” premise, it was not really worthy of consideration.

“We don’t have the votes!”  Translation:  When our reps. don’t want something in a bill, that’s when we can be guaranteed we’ll hear, “We don’t have the votes!”


Since this writing, Cong. Dennis Kucinich has now capitulated and will vote “yes” on the public option – he held out as long as he could and he states his intense displeasure with the bill, nonetheless!  Well, it seems there are some speculations on that, as well — will offer more on that tomorrow!

UPDATE:  Concerning Kucinch’s change!  There are those suggesting some the following has something to do with it:

. . . .But, said one attendee, Obama pointed Kucinich toward single-payer language that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was able to get into the bill. Kucinich fought for an amendment that would allow states to adopt single-payer systems without getting sued by insurance companies. Obama told Kucinich that Sanders’s measure was similar but doesn’t kick in for several years. “He definitely wrote it down,” said one member of Kucinich, suggesting that he’d look into it. . . . . (read more here.

But, then, the other day, on Amy Goodman’s show, that amendment of Sen. Sanders does not seem to be have all that likely, but then, who knows for sure about anything?

Single Payer Rep. Dennis Kucinich was asked by Amy Goodman about President Obama’s assertion that the Senate bill includes single-payer language by Sen. Sanders. “It provides for a waiver; it doesn’t grant the waiver. And it takes effect 2017. But by then, we’ll already have a system in place that will be very difficult to move out of,” Kucinich said. LINK

That excuse seems a little flimsy to me, particularly for an amendment that doesn’t grant a waiver, and wouldn’t even take effect until 2017!  

[Not real name!]


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  1. sick of hearing “We don’t have the votes?”

  2. Where did my comment go???

  3. sure sounds like one smug little apparatchik-in-training.

  4. If even just one out of every thousand Americans was a dedicated and determined as you, we’d get our government back in a week.  

  5. Some news, and “kudos” to Cong. Grayson!

  6. uh huh.

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